Your body is tough, but the muscles you build won't last if you don't challenge them. Although rest days are important for recovery, staying active on a regular basis can help you maintain your strength or physique in the long run. Muscle maintenance is important not only for keeping your desired physique, but also contributes to injury prevention and disease prevention.
Sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss, is a standard part of aging, but it can be avoided. According to Harvard Health Publishing, after the age of 30, you lose up to 5% of your muscle mass per decade. It is critical to begin developing healthy habits as soon as possible in order to limit muscle mass loss.
Some ways to prevent muscle loss and maintain muscle mass are through exercise and diet. Continue reading to learn more.
1. Consistent weight training
We begin to lose muscle mass naturally at around the age of 30. Sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss, increases and becomes more noticeable after the age of 40, with a 30 to 50% decline by the age of 80.
The causes of this muscle loss are varied, and the rate at which it occurs for you is determined by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. The primary culprits are a decrease in sex hormones and lower levels of physical activity in the elderly.
By staying active, you can prevent or at least slow this natural state of loss. Lift weights two to three times per week, working out all of your major muscle groups. If possible, allow two days between workouts.
2. Eat more protein.
Maintaining muscle mass as you age is easier if you eat well and get the recommended amount of protein for your activity level. You should consume at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, and up to 1.2 grams is preferable for those who are aging and want to maintain muscle mass.
To calculate the amount of protein you require, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.45. Multiply that figure by 1.2 to get your daily protein requirement.
Protein is required for muscle growth and maintenance because it is responsible for tissue growth and repair. Multiple studies show that consuming a high protein diet is essential for maintaining muscle mass as you age and when dieting below maintenance calories.
3. Don't forget your calories.
If you don't eat (or drink) enough to keep your body weight balanced, you will most likely lose muscle and bone. Paying attention to the total number of calories you consume can assist you in maintaining muscle mass.
While eating enough protein is important, and heavy trainers such as athletes may require a little more protein than those mentioned above, eating enough overall calories is probably even more important. Carbohydrates are required for the body to produce an anabolic (muscle-building) stimulus. You may lose muscle if you do not get enough.
It is also critical to refuel after exercise. Having some protein and carbohydrates within an hour of your workout and enough beyond that to refuel will help to ensure muscle maintenance and even growth as your insulin levels rise.
4. Resistance train.
A regular strength training routine increases muscle mass. Two to three 30-minute sessions per week are ideal. (Always seek medical advice first.) Local community classes or working with a personal trainer are excellent places to start.
The type of resistance training you do is also important. Focusing on hypertrophy training, which helps build muscle mass, also helps prevent muscle loss, even if you are on a calorie deficit.
5. Get enough rest and sleep.
Sleep is a time for restoration. Hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone begin the process of rebuilding and repairing your body. Make sure you get enough restful sleep to help with this process. Relaxation is also important because emotional stress causes catabolic stress hormones, which means more muscle destruction if you're not careful.
Sleep also helps you have enough energy for your workouts and encourages healthier eating habits. In addition, recovery time is required for proper muscle growth and maintenance.
Maintaining one's weight isn't as exciting as gaining or losing weight. However, life does not always permit a picture-perfect bulking routine, and you may simply not want to change your body any further.
It's as simple as adjusting the dials on your nutrition and training to transition out of a weight-adjustment cycle and into a period of balance. Adjust your caloric intake to match your activity level, and if necessary, reduce the intensity of your workouts. You can keep what you've built as long as you keep your protein intake high and your workouts moderately challenging.